iPhone App Review: Stealth Checkers

iPhone App Review: Stealth Checkers

December 10th, 2012 by

Anyone out there ever wanted to combine elements of chess, checkers, and even Stratego, with a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure? Well those of you looking for such a bizarre mashup need look no further than developer Dreamgames new iOS title, Stealth Checkers.

With an initial setup like checkers but featuring more luck than strategy, you roll dice to see what type of chess-style move your next piece will make, and how far it can go. Maybe you will move a “bishop” 3 squares or a “queen” 6. You can also choose different winning conditions at the start of each game, and play against a friend or an opponent.

How It Works

Each game is set up like checkers. When you start you choose whether you are trying to capture all of each other’s pieces, or simply capture the king (as well of course as whether you are playing against a human or computer opponent).

The game plays more or less like chess from then on, though with a twist: you roll two dice every turn. One tells you what kind of piece your checker moves as, and the other tells you how many squares you can move. The knight, pawn, and king ignore the the number of squares die, as they move like normal. There are other adjustments as well: the pawns cannot move two squares on their first turn, there is no en [passant?] capture, and there is no castling.

What you can do to protect the king in a capture-king-only game is hide him, provided you roll the king on the first roll of the game. Then you can flip your king over, so neither you nor your opponent can see him (so keep track of him well).

Pros And Cons

The idea is a fun one and the game plays well, though I wish there were some more options for playing. The standard games take two highly strategic classic and and reduce them to a game of mostly luck. There is nothing wrong with games of luck, people everywhere play them all the time, but what would be nice is an option to remove the number die altogether. This would mean you were stuck with the chess die for moving a piece, but it would be up to you how far to move it.

The game-play itself however is fast and fun, letting you pick up and play games quickly to completion against the computer opponent (which is easier to beat in “capture all” mode than in “capture king” mode, though it’s not particularly hard in either).

Stealth Checkers is also well-suited for parents to play with their kids, as it gives a handy highlight for each possible move once you select a piece after your die roll. An adult’s knowledge of chess gives no advantage in this game, as it’s primarily luck that determines where you can move (though some strategy applies to which piece you select).

Overall

Stealth Checkers is a fun, original idea that can be a fun distraction for anyone needing a quick game fix, and gives old classics a new twist. It is available now for $0.99 on the App Store. The app is also Universal, though the iPad has no additional features that I can discern other than a larger board.

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